NCAAW Breakdown: History Awaiting for Mighty South Carolina

Stanford, Indiana, and Virginia Tech are the Other No. 1 Seeds of NCAAW Breakdown.

While the men’s tournament is about as wide open as it has been in recent memory. It is a different deal in the women’s event.

Defending champion South Carolina is looking to join a select company by winning back-to-back national titles. The Gamecocks are looking to join the 1985-86 Texas Longhorns, 1994-95, 2001-02, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2013-14 and 2015-16 UConn Huskies, the 1997-98 Tennessee Lady Volunteers and 2011-12 Baylor Bears are the only undefeated national champions during the NCAA era.

Southern California (1983-1984), Tennessee (1996-1998), UConn (2002-2004), Tennessee (2007-2008), UConn (2009-2010) and UConn (2013-2016) are the only teams to accomplish that feat.

Stanford and UConn are usually in the national championship picture and this year is different with Indiana and Iowa among the other contenders. It would be major women’s basketball news if somebody other than the Gamecocks are cutting down the nets in Dallas in early April.

According to the NCAA women’s basketball odds, South Carolina is the overwhelming favorite in the odds to win the title once again. This is the first year that the women’s tournament went from four regional sites to two with Greenville, S.C., and Seattle playing host to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games. The Final Four is set for March 31 and Apr. 2 in Dallas.

Is any Stopping the Gamecocks?

South Carolina was thought to have one of the best recruiting classes when Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, Laeticia Amihere and Breanna Beal committed to play for Dawn Staley.

Now they can leave as one of the best teams in women’s college basketball history.

Boston, the reigning national player of the year, was just named an Associated Press All-American for the fourth time.

Awards season rolls on, FAMS…@aa_boston is just the 𝟱𝘁𝗵 player ever to earn @AP All-America status four times.

She’s a 3-𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 @AcadAllAmerica selection, too … because you can’t win that as a freshman 😉

— South Carolina Women’s Basketball (@GamecockWBB) March 15, 2023

Despite the SEC not having the depth it has in past years, the Gamecocks are 5-0 against teams ranked in the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll at the time of the game.

Wins over Stanford, UConn, Louisiana State, Maryland, and UCLA means the Gamecocks have victories against five of the teams in the top 20 in the odds to win the title.

South Carolina is priced at -220 in the title odds with plenty of women’s basketball picks coming in on the Gamecocks.

South Carolina has won 38 games in a row and if the Gamecocks run the table, they would finish with the seventh-longest winning streak in NCAA Division I history with UConn owning the top three streak and four of the top six.

A year ago, Destanni Henderson took over in the title game against UConn with 26 points so her production could be missed.

Maryland, a Notre Dame team with serious injury questions with Dara Mabrey out for the year and All-American Olivia Miles going down late in the season and UCLA are the other top seeds in the South Carolina bracket. Good luck with trying to beat South Carolina in Greenville.

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Blue Bloods Can’t be Overlooked

Stanford is the No. 2 pick to win the title at +750 despite failing to win the Pac-12 tournament title.

Cameron Brink, Haley Jones, and Hannah Jump, and Fran Belibi have played together for the last three or four seasons. That experience can’t be overlooked heading into the tournament.

UConn got Azzi Fudd back for the Big East tournament and that will be huge for the Huskies moving forward.

No team needed some time off between the conference tournament and the start of the NCAAs than this UConn team. The starters often rarely came off the court as the Huskies had to fight to the end of games for wins more than in seasons past.

UConn has reached the Final Four every year that there has been a tournament since 2008. The Huskies are the No. 2 seed in a bracket where Virginia Tech is the top seed with Ohio State and Tennessee as other teams in that region. The sportsbook has the Hokies (+4000) well back among the No. 1 seed in the odds to win the national title.

It’s been a while since UConn and Tennessee met in the NCAA tournament. Could that happen this year?

Keeping with New England basketball, Maine native Mackenzie Holmes is one of the reasons why Indiana is tied with UConn at +800 in the championship odds according to the women’s basketball lines.

The Hoosiers don’t have the championship pedigree of UConn and Stanford. None of those will matter if they take care of business if they become the first team coming out of the Big Ten to reach the championship game since Michigan State in 2005.

Watching the Shooting Stars

Former scoring champion Caitlin Clark has Big Ten tournament winner Iowa as a team to be feared.

Iowa, priced at +1800 to win the championship, could meet up with Stanford in what would be a can’t miss the regional final.

LSU lost to South Carolina during the regular season and Tennessee in the conference tournament. The latter loss dropped the Tigers to a No. 3 seed and that could mean having to go through Michigan and Utah just to get to the Elite Eight when Indiana could be waiting.

Seeing Holmes matching up with LSU’s Angel Reese could be a tremendous game within the game.

Villanova’s, Maddy Siegrist is the top scorer this year.

The Wildcats are the No. 4 seed in the regional with Indiana, Utah and LSU. Las Vegas women’s basketball odds have Villanova at +4000 in the title odds. The last time a player won the scoring title and played in the Final Four in the same season came in 2006 when Seimone Augustus had LSU in the national semifinals. No scoring champ has been a member of the NCAA Division I women’s national championship team.

The tournament began on Wednesday night with Mississippi State topping Illinois and the first of the four play-in games.


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